Use what ya got

Setting the clocks back + cold weather = a big old BLAH.
I’m not a big fan of the colder, darker months.  But, riding isn’t going to stop just because this time of year sucks (my opinion).  While a lot of people are hopping on trainers or rollers, I prefer to continue doing real rides.  Sitting in a house or garage spinning just doesn’t sound like any sort of fun to me.  So I’m forced to adapt.  I ride the mtb or cx bike more in the Winter months.
Tuesday, I hopped on the Toa and met Tory on the east side of town for a night time Roxy session.  Since the trails turn to the consistency of chunky peanut butter after a good soaking, we settled for a ride up, four laps around the peak, and back down due to an earlier rain storm.  It was cold, but nice to spend time with my oldest son.

Ready for a good climbing session, I met Shawn in Jville on Wednesday.  The trails on the west side of the valley only seem to get better after it rains and they were in great shape.  By the time we were done it was dark and getting down around 40 degrees.
Thursday night it was back out to Jacksonville’s Forest Park for an Unreal Cycles group ride.  I think there was 10 or 11 of us that climbed up to the top of John’s Peak before all but one of us (me) bombed down trails back to the parking area.  I rode back down the road since I was not in the mood (ahem…skill level) to try and keep up with a bunch of fast guys going downhill.  Still a lot of fun climbing and bs-ing with them.
After a lot of back and forth over what to do Saturday, I landed on getting my November century out of the way since the weather wasn’t supposed to be too bad.
That didn’t mean it wasn’t cold.  In fact, it was 35 degrees at my house when I left at 7:30.  I made my way to the ball fields and then cruised north on the Greenway.

As I got closer to Blackwell Road, I started hitting some fog.  I love fog.  Not really.
Luckily, as I neared Agate Road the fog cleared away and I was treated to blue sky for the next couple hours.
At the end of Agate, I headed west to the biggest climb of the day.  Up and over Antioch and I was ready for the long, scenic trip through Evans Valley.

At the city of Rogue River, I started the return trip back home and a couple hours later I had just over the hundred miles I needed.

It was with heavy legs I greeted Sunday morning, but I wasn’t done yet.  Meeting up with 7 other crazies at the Unreal Cycles shop, we all piled into the Grammo Van ready for some action on the the Jedi Trail just north of Grants Pass.  With Unreal leaders, Peter and Lewis as Skipper and First Mate, we loaded the bikes on their massive trailer and were off!
Let’s just say the 3 hour round trip drive involved some interesting conversation and leave it at that.  Hopefully, we are welcome back in the van!
As far as the ride, we started out dry, but halfway up the first big climb the rain came on with a vengeance.  Before we were at the top, we were fairly soaked. 

Big deal.  The trails were waiting!

After a couple hours of climbing and riding other trails, we still hadn’t hit the Jedi yet.  Some of us had had enough and decided to make the wise choice to get dry, have a beer or hot chocolate and wait for those of us who hadn’t had enough yet.
Adrian, Jared, and I headed up the road to the trailhead.

Despite the three of us barely being able to shift due to very cold fingers, we weren’t sorry we decided to tough it out a little longer.  Aside from needing to stop and navigate around debris on the trail a few times, we ripped down Jedi with smiles on our faces (albeit somewhat frozen).
It was another good week.  Maybe not ideal conditions, but sometimes you gotta use what ya got.  No excuses.  Just ride!
Aaron

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